The Chimney Safety Institute of America recently reported that, on average, 17,600 chimney fires occurred each year from 2015 to 2017. Although they collect more recent data, the numbers are unlikely to have changed over the years. in recent years. For this reason, National Chimney Safety Week is designed to educate homeowners about the dangers of fireplaces.
Fireplaces play an essential role in regulating the heat of wood stoves and other ventilated heaters. In order to optimize the performance of the fireplace, it is important to clean and inspect them regularly.
“Chimneys should be cleaned after using two or three wood grindstones. It’s convenient to have a fireplace cleaned every year, ”said Mark Sweeney, owner of Hearth and Pool Services.
He explained that many homeowners forget to take care of their chimneys. They can let ash build up over time, and it becomes easy for accidents to happen when the fireplaces are dirty.
“Make sure your fire stays in the fireplace. Make sure he doesn’t roar. We have certified chimney sweeps who will point you to any danger issues, ”said Sweeney.
It is important to use grates so that the logs do not come out of the fireplace. He also recommends using fire screens or glass doors to contain the fire.
Fireplace owners can leave the door open if they have a manageable fire and while they are actively assisting the fire, but wood stove owners are not recommended to keep the door open for very long.
“They turn glowing and burn the components. You don’t want to do this in a wood stove. You have to be careful, ”he said.
Hearth and Pool sells a lot of high efficiency stoves. The most popular are ventless gas logs, gas fireplace inserts, wood stoves, pellet stoves, freestanding pellet stoves and vented gas stoves.
Many prefer wood stoves because hardwood is plentiful in Oklahoma and because it emits radiant heat.
“Wood is popular because there is a lot of it. We live in leafy territory. There is a lot of oak. It gives off a different heat. It’s more like the bright sun. It heats things in the room, not just the air, ”Sweeney said.
He recommends opening the damper by slowly opening the doors before the fire is fueled, as this helps the stove retain smoke.
In an emergency, it is important to get out and open the hose. He does not recommend sending water up the chimney as this will cause the tiles in the chimney to burst. Instead, he recommends watering the roof because it is unlikely to catch fire if it gets wet.
He also recommends burning seasoned wood after it has been split for six to nine months. Green wood does not burn as well and is more likely to smoke.
It was a good year for wood stove sales. Many residents receive stimulus checks and use them for household projects. After the cold snap of last February, gas prices have skyrocketed. This has caused many people to reconsider using gas in the winter.
While Hearth and Pool sends certified professionals to clean their chimneys, some prefer to do it themselves.
Tahlequah Lumber sells cleaning brushes suitable for the diameter of the pipes. They also offer extension rods that users assemble.
“We have ash logs and ash buckets. The ashes, even after three days, can hold enough heat to melt a plastic bucket, ”said Christian Cruz of Tahlequah Lumber. “We get a lot of people looking for tips. We will have everything to help them with the installation. “
They don’t sell wood stoves or inserts, but do offer creosote sweep logs, which are popular.
“People are going crazy over creosote sweep logs and they’re hard to keep in stock,” he said.
Sweeney cautions against purchasing creosote logs, however, as they emit minerals up the chimney to dry up creosote buildup.
“They are made to sell. If they made the creosote come off, then it would fall into the smoke shelf behind the register and be closer to the fire,” he said.